The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
UC Davis Converts Waste Into Clean Energy With Nation's Largest Campus Biodigester
Trash isn't simply trash at the University of California, Davis, it's an important tool to create on clean energy.
The waste-to-power conversion takes place in a large, white tanks on campus, together known as the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ). UC Davis unveiled the biodigester on Earth Day. Using UC Davis biological and agricultural engineering professor Ruihong Zhang's technology, the university collaborated with Gold River, CA-based CleanWorld to bring it to a commercial scale.
It's the nation's largest anaerobic biodigester on a college campus.
“It has been the thrust of my research to bring the innovations we made possible at UC Davis to commercial scale,” said Zhang, who began working on a way to create energy from organic waste more than a decade ago.
“This technology can change the way we manage our solid waste. It will allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the team who helped make this moment a reality."
The biodigester is located at campus' now-closed landfill. The system uses generators to convert 50 tons of organic waste to 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity each day, diverting 20,000 tons of waste from local landfills each year. It is the third commercial biodigester CleanWorld has opened using Zhang’s technology. Zhang serves as the chief technology advisor for CleanWorld.
Inside the oxygen-deprived tanks, bacterial microbes convert the university's food and yard waste into clean energy that feeds the campus electrical grid. The biodigester creates 5.6 million kWh per year of electricity. It is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13,500 tons per year. Making use of the former landfill location, the process uses the methane created from the waste to help convert the waste into renewable energy.
“The biodigester is the latest chapter in UC Davis’ world-renowned legacy of environmental sustainability,” said Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis.
“This project stands as a model public-private partnership and demonstrates what can be achieved when research universities and private industry collaborate to address society’s most pressing challenges.”
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Pedro Biondi
Extinct in its habitat for at least three decades, the Alagoas curassow (Pauxi mitu) is now back in the jungle and facing a test of survival, thanks to the joint efforts of more than a dozen institutions to pull this pheasant-like bird back from the brink.
By Julia Conley
Sen. Elizabeth Warren expanded her vision for combating the climate crisis on Tuesday with the release of her Blue New Deal — a new component of the Green New Deal focusing on protecting and restoring the world's oceans after decades of pollution and industry-caused warming.
A judge in New York's Supreme Court sided with Exxon in a case that accused the fossil fuel giant of lying to investors about the true cost of the climate crisis. The judge did not absolve Exxon from its contribution to the climate crisis, but insisted that New York State failed to prove that the company intentionally defrauded investors, as NPR reported.
By Sharon Elber
You may have heard that giving a pet for Christmas is just a bad idea. Although many people believe this myth, according to the ASPCA, 86 percent of adopted pets given as gifts stay in their new homes. These success rates are actually slightly higher than average adoption/rehoming rates. So, if done well, giving an adopted pet as a Christmas gift can work out.